Save Money Knowing the In’s and Out's of Cross Ventilation

Save Money Knowing the In’s and Out's of Cross Ventilation

Mike Tyson
Jun 8, 2011

Who hasn't felt the stinging pressure to switch off the AC in the summer months once the electric bill comes in? But of course, that option just isn't in the cards during those sweltering summer days when the heat seems just too unbearable to deal with. Thankfully there is another option: a cheaper, and much greener alternative. It is the delicate art of cross ventilation and if executed properly can be a great substitute for your AC unit using only a fraction of the electricity yet keeping you cool and saving you money at the same time.

Cross ventilation at its essence is a way to naturally cool a home by regulating airflow throughout the space. It requires logically placed windows, doors, and fans in order to facilitate an optimal naturally cooling environment. A gusty air is brought through an "inlet" window, carried through the space, cooling the room and picking up the hot air, and finally escaping out an "outlet" window. This method of cooling has been used with great success in new green or "off the grid" homes built explicitly for this purpose. And many don't contain any central air or AC units at all.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of cross ventilation is that it requires the proper positioning of your doors/windows in your home. Since many of us don't have the capability to rearrange rooms, we're forced to work with our existing plan. Thankfully there are still many solutions available to us. The best approach is to use fans to help propel the air throughout the space. Placing a fan in front of your inlet window will help gather the air from outside and blow it forward, through your space. On the other end of your apartment, place a second fan next to your outlet window this time facing outward. This is to draw the warm interior air and blow it outside. The method at first may seem counter-intuitive since your first instinct is to want to blow the fan directly on you but after giving the method some time to work, you should notice a much cooler house. Additional tips would be to use a large fan in the interior rooms to help further propel the air if you have a winding floorplan. We think Vornado makes some pretty good fans although of course we'd love to get the bladeless Dyson. We recommend getting a fan labeled for air circulation as it will be specifically designed to carry the air around the room, neutralizing its temperature.

(Images: Flickr members elfsternberg and PJMixer, licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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